So we’re all thrilled that Super Rugby is back on again? In fact the knockout matches start the week after next.
But apart from one match in the last round in Christchurch the last weekend was a painful ritual of going through the motions.
Last night’s 49-44 shambles in Wellington summed it all up. A match like the Sevens without the fun or crowds. Or relevance even. Two sides with absolutely no motivation showing off some flash moves without bothering to worry about boring things like defence. A pile of froth totally devoid of any commitment.
The only thing missing was Danny Morrison the commentary box
And why would they bother? As Cory Jane said at halftime, the Hurricanes had already “clocked off” for the season. Which, due to the June season break, means they clocked off in May. When you have a month off before returning for three matches with no meaning it is inevitable that the edge goes.
The result was shipping 49 points at home against a side that for a large part of the season looked as if they were going to go winless in 2013.
And there is another week of this to come. The Hurricanes travel to Christchurch to help the Crusaders lock in a play-off position.
Meanwhile the Highlanders will go through the motions by playing the Rebels in what must be the most meaningless match of the professional era. It is hard to see the likes of Kurtley Beale remotely getting up for that one. In fact he probably won’t bother playing.
This situation is called by the so-called International Window in June, which is more than handy in filling the coffers. However, it should not be allowed to destroy the flagship competition like this.
It shouldn’t be too simple to shorten the Super Rugby competition a little; and there are strong arguments for doing that anyway, getting it to finish in mid-June. You move the International Window back by three weeks, noting that it is too early as it is, which resulted in the French team arriving in two waves this year.
The Tri – Quad nations could follow that, flowing on to the NPC. Who knows; a format like that could actually work; might be worth giving it a go.